my wood stove

I was thinking just a few days ago, when winter abruptly descended, how efficient and useful my wood stove has been.  Over the past 3 winters it has lived up to all my expectations and provides sufficient heat for the house except in the evening before retiring when we use supplementary heat to warm the bathroom.  Coincidentally, I received an email with some questions on the wood stove (see below): Here are some thoughts.  But first, if you are interested in the topic do read my Read more [...]

tire puncture repair

As a kid I repaired bicycle tire flats - check the tire stem is not leaking, remove tire, remove inner tube, pump and locate hole, buff the area around the puncture, apply glue, allow to tack, apply patch, reinstall inner tube and tire, and you are good to go. The tires on my lawn tractor are bigger and wider and removing the rim/bead is more difficult.   The treads are worn and all 4 tires should be replaced.  The right rear tire is always flat.  I have a portable compressor (see Read more [...]

new camera old lens (continued)

In my previous post I mentioned the challenges of crisp focusing, the flatness produced by the flash directly above the camera (it should be to the side), camera shake and the need for a tripod.  I discovered among our possessions an old tripod (a Velbon VE-3, >30 years old) and today I returned to the field.  When using a macro lens the slightest jarring of the body blurs the image.  One answer could be to increase the speed of the shutter.  But then less light reaches the sensor.  So I Read more [...]

new camera and old lens

I have taken photographs since I was a kid.  Initially with a box camera, then my Dad's Zeiss Ikon f2.8 bellows camera, then a single lens reflex and then most recently for this website a Canon PowerShot SD1100.  The PowerShot has been fine but it has limitations for good close up pictures.  I recently found a boxed assortment of Pentax lenses, one of which is an Asahi SMC Macro Takumar f4 100mm, which is about 40 years old.  This lens should be great for close ups I thought, so why not pair Read more [...]

my new hand sickle

The winter rye is tall and surrounds and shades my berry plants. Now it is summer the winter rye is drying out and will soon drop its seed.  I like the wilderness of this luscious growth and see no point in cutting it down, except where it dwarfs my plantings.  It is shallow rooted and after a rain comes easily out of the ground, but that leaves an open spot quickly invaded by weeds and Bermuda grass.  For clearing the rye away from my plantings my large scythe is ill suited since it requires Read more [...]

a black powder event

Now for something different! The Remington Model 1858 was a 6 shot revolver patented in 1858.  My buddy Mike has an Italian made replica with an 8" barrel in .44 caliber and he, and I, were keen to try it out on my range in the valley of the woods. The firearm is called a revolver because it has a cylinder, which is removable, and contains 6 chambers. The procedure is you fill the 6 chambers with powder from the powder flask.  The flask has a manual valve which you open, place you finger Read more [...]

home beer brew

When I lived in London in the late 70's through the mid 80's it was common to make your own beer.  Boots, the large pharmacy retailer, sold a beer brewing kit for less than 10 pounds  ($16 at today's rates) which contained all you needed to make your own beer.  Drinking beer at the pubs was popular and even when you visited friends for a meal, you would before or after the meal, head to the local pub.  However, and I began to dread the moment, your friend would occasionally insist you drink his Read more [...]

making whole wheat bread

A wise man once told me "You are what you eat".  At the time I ate whatever I wished and being in my mid- 20's and healthy, I saw little need to change my eating habits.  Nowadays I eat "healthy" which includes whole wheat bread and, noting the cost of 100% whole wheat bread and wishing to be as self-reliant as possible, I decided to venture down the bread making route. Acquiring a whole wheat bread maker First stop was a bread making machine (I could have tried hand kneading but I like machines) Read more [...]